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March 4, 2008

Fantastic Four Lucky, Flo, Paddy, And Manny: The Original DVD-Sniffing Pirate Fighting Dogs, $30000 For Their Demise

luckyflo.jpgIf you thought piracy was a big concern in North America, you're right. But it pales in comparison to the concern of the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA). Last year the MDTCA made headlines when they began to use dogs to sniff out large caches of pirated DVD's. The dogs, Lucky and Flo, were loaned to Malaysian authorities by the Motion Picture Association of America, and trained to sniff out a chemical used in DVD production. While the dogs aren't actually capable of differentiating between real and pirated DVD's, they do have the ability to detect large caches of DVD's. Malaysian is one of the world's pirated DVD hotspots, so large caches often mean a big bust. In fact Lucky and Flo were able to help Malaysian authorities uncover 1.6 million pirated DVD's and equipment worth nearly $6 million!

Now, two more dogs have been added to the canine fleet. Paddy and Manny are the latest additions and will be permanent fixtures in Malaysia's ongoing war against DVD pirates, which the country hopes will eventually see themselves taken off the list of "pirate watch countries" in the United States.

We should also mention, just in case you want to make a little extra cash, that Malaysian pirates have placed a bounty of $30, 000 on the heads of the original dynamic duo, Lucky and Flo.


Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 2, 2008

Japanese Send 7680 x 4320 Pixel HD Signal Via Satellite, Could Be In Our Homes Within 10 Years

Just last year experts thought the transmission of such massive bandwidth signals were 15-20 years away, but Japanese broadcaster NHK recently was able to transmit 7680 x 4320 pixel, 33 megapixel frames via H.264 compression and 16 Kyrion encoders. Put it this way, this video if uncompressed, would require 200GB of bandwidth for just one minute of video. A whopping 10TB per hour!

While this amazing feat drastically reduces the time it'll take to get such high quality picture into our homes, the amount of computing power required to achieve this level of compression still needs to be drastically reduced. Think set-top box reduced. But while 1 year ago, we thought it would take 15-20 years to achieve this, NHK figures it'll only be 10-15 years until we're watching 7680 x 4320 pixel ultra-HD resolution on our home theater TV's. That level of picture quality is truly frightening!

Via Rapid TV News

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 1, 2008

February 2008 Monthly Roundup For TVSnob

What an exciting month for home theater enthusiasts the world over! We started off the month getting prepared for the Super Bowl, possibly upgrading our LCD or plasma HDTV's to wow our Super Bowl party attendees, or learning how to watch the big game in HD without buying a new set at all. The Hollywood Writer's Strike finally came to an end after 100 days, but not before couple of new startups sprouted out of the chaos designed to eliminate dealing with the major studios altogether. The real question in the end is if the writer's actually got what they deserved.

Probably the biggest news of the month was Toshiba's decision to call off the production of HD DVD, bringing an end to the HD disc format war that's been so heated for the past couple of years. Unfortunately Blu-ray players don't look like they'll be getting cheaper anytime soon.

February 17 officially put us one year away from February 17, 2009 when analog broadcast signals will be shut off for good. We provided you with a quick and simple three part primer detailing what you need to do to get prepared. You wouldn't want to find yourself with no TV on that day, would you?

Finally we've decided to experiment with a new editorial calendar here at TVSnob, bringing the focus back to products and deals, but provided you with a list of daily links, TV Biz Watch, that'll lead you to the news and business happenings that'll affect your home theater experience now and in the future.

Well, today's March 1, and that means another beginning and another exciting month here at TVSnob.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

TV Biz Watch: The Latest News Affecting You And Your Home Theater

Internet TV startup Meevee looks like it may be headed for the deadpool after laying off 3/4's of its staff.

Broadcast TV revenue fell flat in 2007, down 4.4% from 2006.

NBC Universal filed comments with the FCC opposing net neutrality as it could mean they wouldn't be able to filter content with copy protection techniques.

HD DVD isn't dead everywhere. It's still kicking around in China.

Xbox Live now has the largest library of HD titles of any online movie rental service.

Both Paramount and Dreamworks are officially ending HD DVD support March 4.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 25, 2008

Why Is Popcorn So Expensive At The Theater? So We Can Afford To See The Movie!

popcorn.jpgAny movie lover with a dash of common sense would probably have guessed it's true: movie theaters charge an arm and a leg for popcorn and other concessions in order to keep ticket prices relatively affordable. But now we Ph.D's telling us it's true.

Researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Santa Cruz, looked to answer whether it's better to charge a premium on a primary item (the movie ticket) or a secondary item (the popcorn) and found that by charging a premium on the popcorn and keeping the tickets a little cheaper, more price-sensitive consumers would hit the theaters and those with a little more cash would still pig out on the profitable concessions.

It's important for theaters to attract as many viewers as possible for their screenings as profits are split with movie distributors and without viewers, movies will be played elsewhere. But concessions, which account for 20% of movie theaters' gross revenues, actually account for a full 40% of their profits because 100% of concession revenues stay with the theaters.

Count your lucky stars because it looks like those movie theaters that we complain rip us off are actually doing us a favor!


Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 20, 2008

Blu-ray May Be Tough, But Standard DVD Is Bulletproof

Blu-ray may have won the format war, but standard DVD is still the format of choice for consumers. And we'll soon be seeing DVD's replacing Kevlar in police-issue bulletproof vests. Okay, maybe not, but South Carolina Barry McRoy can testify to the DVD's success in stopping bullets.

After eating breakfast at a local breakfast at a local restaurant, McRoy was just leaving when he was knocked over by two fighting men flying through the entrance. He was knocked over and in the scuffle a gun went off. The bullet shattered a window, but ricocheted right into McRoy's stomach. He felt the hit, but didn't realize he'd been "shot" until he felt shattered DVD in his jacket pocket. Blu-ray is getting all the attention these days, but has a Blu-ray disc ever saved someone's life?

Via The Register

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 10, 2008

No Overseas Expansion For Netflix Anytime Soon, Wal-mart Movie Download Service "Made Peanuts"

Netflix's Red Envelope acquisitions manager Liesl Copland said at the Berlin International Film Festival that Netflix has no current plans to expand overseas. They had thought of expanding into the UK a couple of years back until Wal-mart launched their now-extinct movie download service as they "are a huge customer of the postal service and we can't just go in to a territory ... as the digital future is now". Possible in 10 years says Copland, but first they have to acquire the rights to each territory they plan to enter.

As for the Wal-mart movie download service, HP strategy manager Raoul Heinze said that the service wasn't making enough money and Apple was just too much competition. HP is such as large company that if a project doesn't turn a revenue of at least a billion in a fairly short timeframe, it's not worth HP's time and manpower to manage it. Obviously the Wal-mart service wasn't anywhere near the point of turning a billion in revenues, Heinze did speak admirably of the new iTunes platform and its future potential.


Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Writer's Strike May End Tuesday

The board of the Writer's Guild of America met earlier today, deciding to expedite a typically lengthier voting process into a 48-hour ordeal that will see the WGA membership vote on whether or not to end the Writer's Strike as early as Tuesday, meaning writer's could return to work Wednesday.

The usual 10-day voting process was expedited after the WGA Negotiating Committee recommended this morning to the WGA West Board and WGA East Council that they accept the tentative agreement reached the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers early yesterday.

Via Broadcasting & Cable

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 4, 2008

Strike Not Over Yet Says WGA, Please Resume Picketing


Rumors have been swirling around the web this past weekend about a possible tentative agreement between the WGA and the studios as early as today in the now 3-month long Hollywood Writer's Strike, but a joint letter issued by WGA West president Patric Verrone and WGA East president Michael Winship late yesterday called for picketing to resume today and for its members to disregard any rumors.

The letter stated that talks are continuing and no agreement has been reached as of yet, but multiple sources said on the weekend that the sides are nearing an agreement. Unfortunately none of the rumors can be substantiated because due to a media blackout imposed by both the WGA and the studios, no one is willing to speak on record.

Another date that is rumored to signal the end of the strike is February 15, as industry insiders say a resolution by that day will allow the Academy Awards to go ahead as planned and leave time for networks to get their fall schedules together. We're sure more will emerge over the course of today, but in the meantime we'll continue to enjoy some of the startups emerging from the strike zone. Tomorrow we'll tell you about Hollywood Remix, formerly Hollywood Disrupted, a web TV platform headed by blockbuster writer Peter Rader, who we had the pleasure to talk to last week. While you may be upset that your TV schedule has been disrupted, the Writer's Strike is revamping the Hollywood business model and moving it squarely into the world of new media, an exciting "show" in itself.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 2, 2008

Super Bowl 2008: 80% Of Super Bowl Commercials To Air In HD


Up to 80% of the 35 Super Bowl commercials aired during the pre-game, game, and post-game shows tomorrow will be aired in HD, according to Bryan Burns, ESPN vice president for strategic planning & development. This despite that the majority of American homes don't support the 720p/1080i HD resolution that Fox Sports, which owns exclusive telecast rights to tomorrow's big game, prefers for signal transmission.

This is important to advertisers because HD commercials have up to 3 times the brand recognition of standard-definition commercials and grow intent-to-buy by up to 55%. In short, you're more likely to buy if you view an ad in HD! We hope that Toshiba remembers this as they prep to air their $3 million ad spot tomorrow. Wouldn't it be ironic if the HD DVD ad was one of the 20% aired in standard definition? Unlikely, but we think it would be a smart move on Toshiba's part to point out that even if the ad in shown in HD, those watching it are seeing a picture quality much less than they'd enjoy with a Toshiba HD DVD player.


Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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